Friday, prior to Tournament
Student anglers will be allowed to pre-fish the lake from dawn until 5:00pm the day prior to the tournament. All boat captain must check in their boat and undergo a boater safety check from 5:00pm-8:00pm on a first come first serve basis at the tournament site, Dreher Island State Park, picnic shelter. At 7:30, all coaches will meet to have final questions answered and discuss blastoff procedures. Each boat blast off time will be given in addition to boat identification numbers for the duration of the tournament. These numbers will be given back to tournament officials at check in back at the landing at 1:30pm. During the 5:00-8:00pm boater safety check, boat captains and team coaches will receive a copy of the tournament rules, the agenda for the tournament and receive notification of the official tournament blast off check in point and tournament check in points.
Saturday, Day of Tournament
Blast off will begin at safe light. An SCDNR employee will coordinate the blast off. Livewells and safety gear will be checked prior to launching. Fishing will occur from 7:00am until 2:30pm. Boats will return to the landing no later than 2:30 pm and must check in at the designated site with an SCDNR employee. Boats with anglers and fish will travel to the SC State Fairgrounds to check in for the weigh in which will begin at 3:30pm. Boats with anglers and fish will travel to the fairgrounds in flights of 10 boats at a time to maintain a steady flow of anglers to the weigh-in. After fish are weighed in, fish runners will return the fish to a SCDNR hatchery truck for transport back to Lake Murray by SCDNR Fisheries Staff.
Student anglers in both the 11-14 and 15-18 age category will fish in two man teams with their cumulative weight adding up to the total weight for each school team. Two man teams will share each boat along with an adult volunteer. Adults cannot fish, but may assist anglers in netting fish. A limit of five bass of a minimum of 14 inches can be weighed in for each two man team. Only five bass can be in an angler team’s possession at any time.
All student anglers participating in the tournament will be paired with the adult and boat captain that they bring. All anglers must at all times wear a US Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (PFD). Boat captains will not be able to guide anglers to fishing locations, but take guidance from the student anglers aboard their vessel. Anglers will be allowed to operate the trolling motor. When two school anglers share the boat, the boat captains must make sure that anglers switch at the dedicated halfway point in order for anglers to have equal opportunities to fish from the front of the boat and the back.
Allowable Gear Types and Lures
Permitted methods of fishing will be the use of artificial lures only, no live bait of any sort. Only one fishing rod may be in use at any one time by an angler. Participants must only use the gear that is in the boat when the boat leaves the dock at the start of the day. Bass may be landed by use of conventional hook and line only. No snagging of fish allowed. No live bait or trolling allowed.
Boats provided by volunteers must be a minimum of 16 feet in length, have front and rear casting decks, a front mounted trolling motor, an aerated live well capable of keeping alive the two man teams five bass limit. Boats must also have console steering (no tiller), an ignition safety kill switch and all safety equipment as required by the United States Coast Guard. Every angler must provide his own United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD). Both boat captains and student anglers must wear a PFD at all times. Boats participating in this tournament must have current boat registration.
Boats should have a full tank of gas at the beginning of the tournament. This is done in the interest of fairness to all as well as safety. Boat captains must carry a minimum of a total liability insurance coverage on their vessel of $300,000. Boat captains must operate boats in a safe manner, abiding all boating laws when carrying student anglers to fishing locations. Student anglers make the decisions on what areas to fish on the lake and what direction to go. Boat captains cannot make suggestions on areas to fish.
Boats shall not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity on the boat’s maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer or a maximum of 250 hp. The maximum capacity rating must be legible. All boats must be subject to a safety check prior to the blastoff.
First, second and third place will be awarded to a middle school and high school based on total weight; a first, second and third place awarded to middle school two man team and high school two man team based on total weight per angler pair; and to an individual in middle school and an individual in high school for the biggest fish. School winners will be determined by the total weight combined of each of the three two man teams sent per school. There will also be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards given to a middle school two man team and to a high school two man team determined by total weight combined per person. Medals or plaques will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners. Trophies will be awarded to the winning middle school and high school for their display cases. School principals, athletic directors, superintendents and school coaches of all participating teams will receive tickets to attend the weigh in. The top ranked two man team with the heaviest bag of fish for the tournament will receive scholarship funds and a plaque and/or trophy.